Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas from the Kinsey Family!

Merry Christmas from the Kinsey Family!

2012 Christmas Card
2012 Year in Review (Additional to the Christmas Card)
Year in Review Photos:
First Row: 
1) Gracie loved playing with her Aunt Debbie's miniature poodle.
2) I love the pigtails in her hair!
3) Happy 2nd Birthday!
4) Playing with Play-Doh with Mia
5) Keeping it cool during a photoshoot with Mama.  (Look closely and you'll see me in the sunglasses.)
Second Row: 
6) "What's that a noise?" (train going by the Collierville Square
7) Fun at Mud Island!
8) That's my pretty girl!  She was holding her little friend newborn Baby Drew.
9) Happy 4th of July!
10) Happy Fall!
Third Row:
11) Feeding the goat at Cedar Hill Farms
12) Vacation with Daddy
13) Vacation with Mama
14) Gracie loves her PawPaw!
15) Decorating her very own Christmas tree!

I spent HOURS on prepping and designing this year's card.  I'll spare you the details, but let's just say, I will try my best to start the process earlier next year!

These four pictures did not make it on the final card.  I think they show my daughter's happy, mischievous spirit quite well!

Climbing on the Railing surrounding the Santa area.

I got her to play Peek-a-Boo to make her laugh.

My original design to fit on a 4x9 postcard.  This is the front.
 Photos that didn't make the final design:
First row, second photo: Gracie and Mama in church nursery
Second row, second photo: Gracie fell asleep reading one of our favorite books Llama, Llama, Red Pajama
Second row, third photo:  Gracie loved playing the basketball game at Incredible Pizza.

My original design to fit on a 4x9 postcard.  This is the back.  I decided to go a little more simple.
Photos that didn't make the final design:
First Row:
2nd photo: Gracie's first plane ride!  We survived with soda, baby, Pooh, and movies!
6th photo: Lovely portrait at Cedar Hill Farm (the pumpkin patch!)
Second Row:
1st photo:  Making stars for the Fourth of July!
3rd photo:  Yummy ice cream at the Memphis Zoo!
6th photo: Helping Daddy!!
Third Row:
1st photo:  Gracie met the Chick-Fil-A cow (who was played by our pastor's son Ryan)
2nd photo:  Our neighbors very kindly gave us their old playset which Gracie loves to play on.
3rd photo:  Gracie loved going to pick apples at the apple orchard!
4th photo:  "C'm'ere, puppy!"  Gracie loved playing with PawPaw's puppy Buster!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Blog Post Roundup (11/20/12)

Here are a few posts I thought y'all might like to read.

I know this is more than the usual, but I haven't posted any links in a while.

Redbirds and God! @ Living Life with the Loves

The Overlooked Problem of Speed @ The Pastor's Perspective

Where We are Called to Disciple @ Joyful Mothering

A God Who Plays @ The Rigneys

Straight at the Heart @ Everyday Grace

Vote=Voice @ The Pastor's Perspective

What to Do in the Waiting Room @ Valerie Write Now

The Cold Hearts of New England @ Encouraging Words

God is in Control @ Journal for Women

Rhythm and Routine @ Journal for Women

The Dust of His Feet @ Encouraging Words

A Look at the Problem @ Everyday Grace

There are No Perfect Days @ Keep the Heart

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

App Review: Beginner's Bible

Handlebar Marketing approached me about reviewing the iPad app for The Beginner's Bible.  In return (for being among the first 100 to respond), I will receive a free print copy.

The Beginner's Bible App by Zondervan ($1.99) is divided into two sections:  Read and Play.

The Read section has six different Bible stories with illustrations.  When the story is being narrated, each word is highlighted.  You can turn off the narration if you wish.  Each of the illustrations has some sort of interactivity with it which encourages the child to engage with the picture and relate to the story.

The stories are easy to read and to follow.  My one big complaint that the only way you can hear any of the sound is to plug in headphones.  This rather freaked me out because I worried that something was wrong with my iPad.  After checking the sound with the Netflix app, I determined that the sound is ok and that it is an app problem.

Additional stories can be purchased through an in-app purchase for $1.99.  It includes 6 new stories (The Visitors, A Bride for Isaac, Isaac's Blessing, Jacob's Dream, Jacob and Esau, and Joseph's Robe), 3 new coloring pages, 2 new puzzles, and 1 new bonus activity.  I'm sure there will be more Story Packs available as they develop the app.

The Play section has six different games to play which correlate to the stories available on the app.  The Beginning, Noah's Ark (shown below), and A New Home are coloring pages.  There are 7 different colors available to use to color the app, as well as a magic button that allows you to swipe the picture and it will automagically color it the way the original artist has it colored.  I liked that feature.  Catchy (but somewhat annoying) music plays in the background while you color.

For Adam and Eve and The Tall Tower, there are puzzles for you to put together to form the picture.  The pieces are easy to manipulate and I like that the "tolerance" for how close you have to hover the piece is very lenient for young fingers.  My daughter liked this pretty well, but wasn't quite into it enough to want to do the whole thing herself.  I find the background music annoying, but it's probably very catch for kids.

The Sneaky Snake game (shown below) is a lot of fun!  Apples float up like balloons and you have to swipe to pop them.  As you progress, more apples float up faster and faster.  (Hint: the trick is to do one long swipe to bust as many apples as possible rather than short swipes for each apple.)  I really got into this game myself, and my daughter liked doing it as well.

Overall, this is a good app.  Gracie (who is 2-1/2) has a typical attention span for a toddler and enjoyed listening to some of the stories, but not all the way through.  She enjoyed interacting with some of the illustrations.  The best way for her to enjoy and benefit from this app is for me to do it right along with her.  I will gladly let her wear the headphones because I really do not like the music.  I do wish that the audio could be heard from the speakers (for the reading).  I just think that should be the norm on all apps.  The app is well made and is very easy to use.  I do think that $1.99 is steep for each Story Pack.  I'd rather see the Story Packs run for $0.99 or at least have twice as many stories and activities available.  To purchase enough for the whole Bible will run a pretty penny.

A note for Handlebar Marketing:  I did a review on the App Store, but I have no idea how to get the url for it.  My user name is MrsKinsey.  Here is a screenshot of my review:

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

DIY Cabinet Redo

I have been hinting around about the "big project" I've been working on.  I finally finished it tonight!  I honestly thought I was never going to get it done.  I started on it about two months ago and the weather and real life prevented me from working on it.

This is my Grandma's china cabinet.  It is at least 46 years old and was given to me about 10 or 15 years ago.  It was on loan to my former church's parsonage until this past spring.  We put it in our garage until I figured out what I wanted to do with it.  I decided to totally redo the look.  I couldn't decide on what color to paint it.  I knew I wanted it to be contrasty, but not so trendy that the colors would be "out" in a few years.  I debated on whether or not to use earth tone colors like my Grandma liked, but finally decided to use traditional eye-popping colors that *I* like.  My husband and I went to Home Depot and he decided for us to use spray paint.  [Note: never again!]  I looked at all the colors and decided on Colonial Red for the outside, Heirloom White for the inside, and Brushed Nickel for the hardware, all in satin finish.  I used a kind of a brownish-red primer for the red and a white primer for the off-white.

My husband did the sandpapering prep work.  He also replaced the left side of the base cabinet because it had been damaged in the process of being moved (I was not happy!).  He also moved the cabinet in and out of the garage and onto the platform in the backyard.  The platform is actually the floor of the old shed that my husband took down this summer.  He decided to leave it there until we finish all of our painting projects.  (I have just one more project in mind.)

It took several weekends to get it all done.  I really wanted to have it done within two weeks of starting; instead, it took two months to finish it!  I kept telling Robert, "I'm never going to get my cabinet done!"  Little bit of drama there.

If I had to do it all over again, I would absolutely not use spray paint, at least not for both colors.  Even with using painter's tape and masking paper, I had spray from color onto another color.  I went to Home Depot and got sample containers of paint to match the spray paint (I spray painted a couple of popsicle sticks), but the red turned out to be totally off.  The off-white was close enough that I could use it.  I resorted to using a red sharpie marker to touch up the red which is not the best but will work for now.  I think I'm going to find some acrylic paint that matches and use that to touch up instead.

With the hardware, I used the primer paint and the brushed nickel.  What's funny is that if it could be painted on the wrong side, I did that!  I had to go back and paint the correct sides of the hinges and the magnet plates.  I suppose I was in a hurry and guessed rather than tried to figure out the correct sides when I was doing it.

There are still some brown glass etching on the doors that I don't know how to get rid of.  I'll just leave it until I find out what to do.

I finished up the main painting on Saturday and Robert brought it into the house that evening. I finished up the painting this afternoon and put everything together.  Robert helped me put the glass doors on.  I'm so happy that it's done, and I really like the results!

I will be using this cabinet as a combo office supply cabinet (for the drawers) and photo album cabinet (for the shelves).  This means that I can work on organizing my photos and putting them in albums.  I also want to do photo books for our family.
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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Blog Post Roundup (10/20/12)

Here are a few posts I thought y'all might like to read.
Far Above Rubies @ Everyday Grace

If You Must Speak @ The Pastor's Perspective

Facebook Users, Unite! @ Valerie Write Now

Falling Off the Wagon @ Encouraging Words

100 Ways You Know You're A Mom @ Tales From a Gypsy Mama (I do not know anything about this blog.  I found the link on someone else's roundup.)

When Your Teen Says No (Part 1) @ The Pastor's Perspective
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Monday, October 8, 2012

Keeping up with Gracie's Meds

After being sick practically all last week, I was looking forward to getting stuff done around the house today. Although I did get to go shopping at Target and Walmart (not only is the house NOT drop-in company ready, but we also needed groceries and other things), the rest of my day got interrupted because Gracie is now sick. We had to go to one of the other locations for her pediatric group which we had never been to. I like the people over there but didn't like the wait. Anyway, long story a little shorter, Gracie has bronchitis (first time) which is probably viral but because she'd been coughing for a while, the doctor put her on amoxicillin for the next 10 days. I made up the chart above to keep up with the dosages.

Unfortunately, Gracie did not get her nap today so she will go to bed early tonight. Right now she is watching Caillou on Netflix and sitting in my lap playing with Mommy's hair.
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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Blog Post Roundup (9/29/12)

Here are a few posts I thought y'all might like to read.
Get a Dumpster @ Learning God's Lessons

Don't Wait for "Let me Know"! @ Living Life with the Loves

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Butterfly Boo-Boo Pack

My daughter took a tumble tonight. Somehow, she practically did a somersault when getting out of the dining room chair and she landed on the floor on her back. She hit her head either on the chair or the floor. It didn't long for a giant goose egg to pop up on her forehead! I ran to the freezer and grabbed the first thing I could find, a half bag of frozen peas. My husband mentioned the ice pack that we have and he got that out of the freezer. It's a moldable ice pack, but too big and heavy for my daughter to use.

As soon as I could see that Gracie was doing ok ("I stopped crying, Mommy!"), I did a search for ice pack on Pinterest. I found several different recipes. I decided to do an experiment and try two different recipes (because I'm a geek like that), and I made up two different baggies. One baggie holds 3 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol and 5 tablespoons of water. The other baggie holds mostly dishwashing soap and some rubbing alcohol. Yes, I probably should have measured, but I didn't want to clean up a soapy measuring utensil. I stuck them in the freezer with the zipper side up so that they were sitting kind of in a tube shape.

Then I went searching for some sort of pretty fabric to use. Most of my fabric is in boxes either in the garage or in the loft above the garage (never-ending home renos are a hindrance in matters like this!). I remembered that I have a bag of "too small" items in Gracie's closet. I found a pair of purple butterfly tights from last winter that she maybe wore once. Actually, I don't think she wore them at all. We didn't have a winter last year; it was very mild the whole season.

I cut off the legs and stitched one end close. These tights are the footless kind (which I didn't know when I got them) so they already had a nice finished edge on the other end. I found some sticky no-sew velcro and put them in on the finished edge side. The baggies were not yet frozen, just barely cold, but I put them in the purple butterfly packs anyway. I let Gracie hold one and she enjoyed holding it against her goose egg.

She now has both of them while she's watching Dora. She says, "I want to watch Dora!" I say, "OK!" She thinks she's really getting away with something because she knows it's time for bed, but I want to keep her up later just to be on the safe side.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New Blog Tip: PrintFriendly

I just discovered an amazing little widget that literally saved me HOURS of future work!  For several months, I've been wanting to convert my recipe posts into alternative print-friendly versions so that y'all can print just the recipe and not all my rambling.  I considered using Goggle Docs, but really didn't want to spend all that time copying, pasting, and reformatting.

Today, I found!  Not only do they offer a widget that I now have at the bottom of each post, but they also offer a PrintFriendly bookmarklet which allows you to turn ANY web page into a print-friendly version!  You may wonder, "Well, what about all the rambling mumbo jumbo that you put in with your recipes?"  You can easily tell it to delete portions of the page!  You can also tell it to not print the images.  (Unfortunately, that is an all-or-nothing feature.)  To make it even better, rather than print the page, you can have it converted to a PDF file and save it on your computer!

I was so excited about this website, I just had to post right away and tell y'all!

Please note: I was not asked to do this review and was not compensated in any way.
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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Blog Post Roundup (9/1/12)

Here are a few posts I thought y'all might like to read.
Look at the White Line @ Valerie Write Now

One Kind Act @ Everyday Grace

The New Normal @ Our Daily Bread

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Movie Review: I Am Gabriel

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to review a movie that is coming out called I Am Gabriel.  After I viewed the trailer (below) and decided to review the DVD.  Warning:  Lots of Spoilers.

The description on the back of the DVD reads: Promise, Texas is no place to raise a family; the fields are dry, businesses are failing, and kids can't wait to grow up and move away.  Some folks say the town is cursed.  Just when things are at their darkest, a mysterious boy wanders out of the wilderness with nothing but the clothes on his back and a strange mat tucked under his arm.  He has a message of hope for the people of Promise, but it's hard for some to receive.  The slow death of this small town reflects the condition of their own parched souls.  When the boy demonstrates the love of God through signs and wonders, they begin to discover the power of prayer.  Still, not everyone in town sees his presence as a gift and the Sheriff is on a mission to expose who the boy really is.  In the end, with his back against the wall -- surrounded by skeptics -- the boy is forced to reveal his true identity.

I watched the movie twice.  The first time was rather difficult because my daughter kept climbing all over me throughout the movie.  The second time I waited until after everyone went to bed so that I could refresh my memory to write this review.

Overall, it's not a bad movie.  If you like movies dealing with the spirit realm (and I hope you know that most if not all are going to be very fictionalized and not Bible-based), then you'll probably enjoy this movie.  If I had not been reviewing the movie, I may not have stuck it out through the whole movie (and certainly wouldn't have watched it twice).  My husband watched part of it, said he'd seen enough and went on to bed.

The movie begins with the reference of II Chronicles 7:14 on the screen (no verse, just the reference).  This is a great verse ("If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."  The movie primarily focuses on praying to God and seeking His face.  Many forget, or will ignore, the phrase tucked into the verse that says to "turn from their wicked ways."  People like to throw this verse around in a redneck theology kind of way about praying on Sunday and expecting God to fix our country while living for self Monday through Saturday.  This could have been developed in one particular sub-story (and would've made for a great part of the movie) and would've helped to flesh out the movie some more, but it wasn't part of the main message.

In the opening sequence, there is a childbirth scene where a doctor is delivering a baby in the couple's home.  This is rather graphic (for children), showing blood on the sheets.  You will have to decide for your own family, but if my daughter had been much older (old enough to sit down and watch a non-animated film), I wouldn't have played it with her in the room.  The mother conks out all of a sudden, leaving you to think she died; instead, the baby boy dies.  [Offtopic, I find it amusing that the doctor looked more wrung out than the mother!]

John Schneider (of Dukes of Hazard fame) plays the doctor.  When the attending nurse asks him "Why do bad things happen to good people?" He answers, "Who am I to question God?" and then continues with a seemingly prophetic statement that this is only the beginning of bad times.  He also seems to know, from the beginning, who Gabriel is.

While looking at the IMDb description of the movie, I noticed that the director, Mike Norris, (son of Chuck), actually played a part in the movie, and one of the young girls may even be his daughter.  I thought that was very interesting.

The story itself is far-fetched and unbelievable.  Nowhere in the Bible is an angel portrayed like this young boy.  In the Bible, angels provoke a reverential fear, not confusion and sympathy.  The Bible says that we sometimes entertain angels unaware of who they are, so Gabe's very different clothing is unrealistic.  The boy is a passable actor, but he almost never smiled.  He was always very solemn and serious and a little bit monotone.  He says at the beginning that he will be a boy to them and later on, "Don't worry about explaining me.  I'm just a kid," but he does not even remotely portray a "normal" boy.  (What boy doesn't know what PB&J is?)

Gabe suggested to Ellen, the woman he stays with, that she should make prayer mats for the world because "His Word should be spread throughout."  It's ironic because there is no Bible mentioned in the movie until close to the end when the pastor speaks to the people.  There is only one mention of Jesus (see quote in next paragraph). 

One thing I kept looking for while watching the movie is a presentation of the Gospel.  It finally came (somewhat) towards the end of the movie when Gabe says to the doctor, "You are worthy [of going home to Heaven].  The blood of Christ made sure of that for all that accept Him.  You did." A little later when the pastor is speaking to the people, he quotes the verse, "...verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life..." (John 5:24)  I feel like they definitely could have done a better job with presenting the Gospel.

There were other rather odd things about the movie.  On the Sunday morning after a town fellowship, the pastor, his wife, and their granddaughter walk into the church down the aisle to the front of the church.  The people stand up as they enter, the pastor begins speaking, the wife and granddaughter remain at the front to the side, there is no choir, no ushers, and no pianist.  It was just a very odd church service.

The couple who take Gabe in have a lovely home (I really like their little bridge in their front yard), but put him in a very plain guest bedroom with no decorations.  Even if it had been a nursery for their baby 10 years before, I would think that they would've done something to the room especially since the wife teaches art at the local community center.  The rest of the house is decorated very nicely.

I don't even know what to say about the revealing of Gabe as the angel Gabriel (who, by the way, the Bible describes as a man -- see Daniel 9:21).  The wings sprouting, the lights and the adoration of the people.  Maybe I'm being very cynical and skeptical, but I just can't see it happening that way.

I did like most of the instrumental music.  I didn't like the vocalized music so much, but that's because I don't listen to contemporary Christian music.  I also liked the positive ending.  It was evident that not only were good times coming back to the town, but people were going back to God.  I thought that the very end where the couple who had lost their baby boy 10 years before suddenly had a new baby was not surprising and a rather predictable happy ending.

All in all, it's not a terrible movie, just not exactly my kind of movie.  I am appreciative of being asked to review the movie.  I regret that I can't give it a more positive review.

A Larry Ross Communications, representing Echolight Studios, provided me with the DVD in exchange for an honest review.
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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Blog Post Roundup (8/25/12)

Here are a few posts I thought y'all might like to read.
Count Your Encouragement @ The Pastor's Perspective

Are You Self-Righteous? @ Learning God's Lessons

Busy Wives, Busy Lives @ The Lighthouse Letters
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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Memory Box

This project was based on an idea I saw on Pinterest; however, I can't find the pin!  Update: I found the pin! YAY!  I always like to give credit when I can.

I made this Memory Box which holds cards for each day of the year.  Whenever something special or significant happens, I write about it on the card for that day and label it by the year.  In truth, most of these are "mommy memories" which won't mean anything to anybody besides me (except maybe Gracie's Grandma!).

My Memory Box sits on my computer desk. (Like the shoe? My grandma gave that to me years ago.  We both love old-timey things!)
I finally found this box at Big Lots.  I actually saw another one that I liked better, but it cost more than what I wanted to spend.  This box only cost $4.  The memories it holds = priceless!

For now, the box holds one card for each day of the year.  I hope that I will continue to use it for many years to come and will be able to add cards for each day.  Until the space is used up, I put some foam behind the cards to help hold them up.  I plan on wrapping the foam in some matching material.

I used my old wall calendars to mark down events from previous years.  I had written things down rather than in Gracie's baby book because that was quicker and easier.  "One day" I will transfer them into her baby book.

This project was very easy to do, just a little bit time-consuming to write the dates on each card.  I also put family birthdays and holidays on the cards when appropriate.

Some days I will think of something that Gracie has said or done but do not remember the exact date or time frame.  I write it down, anyway.

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Blog Post Roundup (8/11/12)

Here are a few posts I thought y'all might like to read.
The Prayer of a Child @ Candle in the Night
Dear Stay-At-Home-Mom @ The Gospel Coalition (An encouraging blog post I found out from a friend of mine.)

Draw a Stick Man -- this is fun!

Saturday afternoon 8/4 @ Prayers for Dale  (This is a Must Read account of how Dale drowned one year ago and was revived.  I've been following the blog for nearly a year and have rejoiced at each step of improvement that Dale has made.)

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dresser Rescue

My sister-in-law recently posted before and after pictures of a dresser they rescued from an old barn.  Her husband (my husband's brother) fixed it up and it is now a lovely new dresser!

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Liebster Award

Liebster is a German word and it means, sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome. The award is given to blogs with less than 200 followers.

My bloggy friend Laurie at Everyday Grace awarded the Liebster Award to me.  It was a nice surprise and a bright spot in a difficult week.

She asked me 11 questions which I will now answer.

1. What is your favorite Bible verse?
My "life verse" is "They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep." - {Psalm 107:23-24 KJV}
After I got back in church in late 1999, my pastor at the time, Jimmy McCullough, preached a sermon called "Doing Business in Great Waters" which talked about getting away from your comfort zone near the edge of a body of water and going out into the deep of doing God's Will.  It was a great sermon (I wish I had a copy of it!), and really motivated me to take my Christian living to the next level.

2. How long have you been married?
Robert and I have been married 4 years, 8 months, and 5 days.  Yes, this December 1st will mark 5 years of marriage!  {I'm hoping we'll get to do a little getaway to celebrate.}

3. What is one of your family's favorite meals?
Hmmm.....this is a little hard since there aren't many foods that all three of us like, my daughter being the pickiest eater.  I think I will have to pick spaghetti.  All three of us like to eat that. I have found some yummy frozen meatballs to put in it

4. What advice would you give a first time mom?
Sleep when the baby sleeps.  Don't worry about the house; it'll still be there in all of its dusty, cluttered glory.  Enjoy the baby, and if you can, try to do dishes, one load of laundry, and have something picked out for supper.

5. List 3 words that best describe your husband?
I would say that Robert is very straight-forward, intelligent, and strong in his convictions.
6. What is your favorite restaurant?
I can't name just one.  Eating out is one of my favorite things (good food that I don't have to cook or clean up after? Win-win!)  Fast food:  Chick-Fil-A and Zaxby's and Arby's. Sit-Down: Red Robin, Steak-and-Shake, anything seafood (except Red Lobster.  I love their food, but their tartar sauce has a weird wang to it.)  We also like a local restaurant called J. Alexander's.

7. Who is your favorite author?
For children's books, my favorite author has always been Laura Ingalls Wilder.  For Amish fiction, Beverly Lewis and Cindy Woodsmall.  For suspense/mystery, Dee Henderson and Robert Whitlow (I've just discovered Robert Whitlow who is like a Christian John Grisham.  His theology/religious style is quite different from mine, but I enjoy the stories.).

8. What are your hobbies?
Reading, Blogging, Pinterest, Photography, Travel (though I don't do it very much) and hanging out with family.

9. Where do you like to shop?
Just about anywhere, to be honest.  I am very much a go-and-do or at least go-and-look-at kind of person.  I do most of my shopping at Walmart.  I'm in there at least once a week and sometimes two or three times.  If I have a project idea in my head, I will sometimes have to visit many stores to find what I want or to get all of the supplies.  Fortunately, I live very close to many of the nationwide chains you can think of, so I don't waste TOO much gas.

10. Why do you blog?
I blog as a creative outlet, mostly.  Also to have backup copies of my recipes.  My Kinsey Family Blog mainly serves to share photos of Gracie with family and friends who are not on Facebook.  I don't even know if anybody ever views it since my sister went to Heaven last year, but I still post to it.

11. What is your favorite place to vacation?
I like going anyplace new or anyplace where there is something interesting to do or see.  As a family, we have been to Hawaii (honeymoon); Orlando, FL; Ashville, NC; Cade's Cove, Smokey Mountains, TN; Tuckaleechee Caverns in the Smokey Mountains (NEVER again!  I enjoyed it but it was scary, too, and there's no way I would ever take my children there.); and Lexington, KY.  We also visit family in South Mississippi; Springfield, IL; Moultrie, Ga; and Montgomery, AL.  Gracie and I visited my brother in Antelope Valley, CA, but Robert couldn't go with us.  We would love to go to Washington, DC and the Grand Canyon one day.  I would love to go to Amish Country, New York City, and New England.

The Liebster Award is a pass-it-along award. I am going to pick the following blogs:

Kristy of Making Sweet Memories
Kristy Jo and I know each other from a Christian Ladies Forum (Vessels Unto Honour).  She has four cute, funny, sweet kids and loves photography like I do.

Kristy of Thimble Thoughts
Kristy is a bloggy friend of mine.  Funny thing is I don't remember which of my other bloggy friends introduced me to her blog!  She is a fun homeschooling mom of three and is an adult sponsor for her church's youth group.  I forget the name of it (Sigma Theta?), but it sounds like a great, fun way to help teens grow in Christ.

Lori of Frog's Lilypad
Lori and I also know each other from Vessels Unto Honour.  She is a homeschooling mom of a teenage boy.  She enjoys reading like I do.

Pat of Living Life with the Loves
Pat is another lady I know from Vessels Unto Honour.  She has three children and four grandchildren and serves in the ladies ministry and teaching little ones in her church.

Robyn of The Lighthouse Letters
Robyn is my pastor's wife here in Memphis! She teaches in our church's Christian school, oversees the ladies ministry, and is a very talented singer.  My Gracie loves Mrs. Robyn (and Ryan and Jordan and Preacher, too!).

Valerie of Valerie Write Now
Valerie is my other "real-life" friend.  We got to know each other through Vessels Unto Honour and met in real life two years ago.  She is a homeschooling pastor's wife, mother of five fun younguns, and a talented writer.

Rules for the Liebster Award are as follows:
(1) Post 11 things about yourself, (2) Answer the questions that your nominating blogger has set for you and then create 11 questions for your nominees, (3) choose up to 11 blogs to nominate and link them in your post, (4) go to their respective blogs and let them know, and (5) no tag backs!

Before I forget, here is your homework assignment are your questions to answer on your blog:

1.  What is something special or unique about the place where you live?

2.  If you could meet anybody in history, who would you want to meet and why? (Jesus does not count because we know we will meet Him in Heaven one day.)

3.  Have you had your "15 minutes of Fame"?  Describe the experience or tell what you would love to have it for.

4.  When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?  Did you accomplish that?

5.  What is your favorite tip or advice for mothers of little ones?

6.  What is your best advice for keeping it all in balance? or at least from dropping all the juggling balls?

7.  What is your favorite joke? or What is something funny that has happened to you or you have seen happen?

8.  Who are you most like in your family?

9.  What is the best memory you have of any of your grandparents?

10.  Have you crossed any items off your Bucket List?

11.  Who is one of your Christian mentors and what is something they have taught you?

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Blog Post Roundup (8/4/12)

Here are a few posts I thought y'all might like to read.

Someone IS Watching Us @ Apron Strings

No More Excuses @ The Pastor's Perspective

Handling the Little Extortionist @ Journal for Women

Going for the Gold @ The Lighthouse Letters

God's Embroidering @ The Lighthouse Letters

The Gates of Hell Will Not Prevail Against It @ Solve Church Problems

How to Survive an Explosion @ Keep the Heart
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Thursday, August 2, 2012


God is [always] good;
The devil is [very] bad;
People are broken;
We ALL need Jesus!
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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Slow Cooker Carolina Pulled Pork

When Gracie and I went to California for my nephew's graduation, my sister-in-law made this wonderful BBQ sandwich that she got from Pinterest. I immediately decided I would make it for Robert.

  • 1 boneless pork shoulder blade roast (3 lb)
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher (coarse) salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper sauce
  • 12 kaiser rolls, split  (We used regular bread.)
  • 1 pint (2 cups) coleslaw with sweet-and-sour dressing (from deli) (Optional)
  •  BBQ sauce
  • Notes:  My sister-in-law used a pork butt roast, so that's what I used, too.  I could only find a 6 pound roast, so I doubled the dry rub ingredients and increased the wet ingredients by 50% which made the crockpot almost completely full.

    1.  Trim the roast of fat.  This was a difficult procedure for me.  I think this was the first time I ever tried to handle pork, and it was not easy for me.  The fat really clings to the meat.  I didn't remove all of it, but most of it.
    2.  Mix the brown sugar, kosher salt, pepper, and paprika.  Rub all over the pork roast.
    3.  Place the pork roast into the crockpot.  Set it on low.
    4.  Mix together the cider vinegar, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and red pepper sauce.  Pour over the pork roast.
    5.  Cook on low for 8-9 hours.
    6.  Shred the pork (I highly recommend using a mixer with the paddle attachment.)
    7.  You can put the pork back into the crockpot and mix together.  I did not.  I served from the mixing bowl.
    8.  Optional:  Mix with BBQ sauce or add BBQ sauce to your sandwich.
    9.  Some people put coleslaw on their BBQ sandwiches.

    Robert really liked it as I hoped he would.  For some reason, I didn't like cooking this.  I didn't even try to eat any of it until the next day.  The smell just didn't agree with me at all.  (No, I am not pregnant!)  I was also still kind of grossed out from handling the raw meat.  However, when I tried it the next day, I really liked it.

    My husband used the pork broth to make rice and added shrimp and cajun sausage.  He liked it, though he said it's very rich.  I ate some of it but didn't care for it that much. To each his own.

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    Saturday, July 21, 2012

    Blog Post Roundup (7/21/12)

    Here are a few posts I thought y'all might like to read.

    Recommended Blog of the Week
     Bible Class Creations
    This is a blog I just found via Pinterest.  I haven't looked at it extensively, so I don't know anything about what version of the Bible they use, but the crafts look like a lot of fun and will help the stories stick with the children!

    Other Recommended Links

    It's the Little Things @ Thimble Thoughts

    Opportunity @ Journal for Women

    My God is My Reproof of Instruction @ My God is...

    Respecting Our Children @

    Why I Don't Want to be a Fighter in the Mommy Wars @ Joyful Mothering
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    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

    Fiesta Chicken Stuffed Bell Peppers

    For Robert's birthday, I asked him if he wanted to go out to eat or did he want me to make him something special for his birthday supper.  He said to make him something special.  I asked him what did he have in mind, and he said, "Make me something exotic, spicy, and flavorful!"  I found two recipes that I wanted to try.  I can't remember the name of my first choice, but Walmart did not have one of the ingredients (Does that surprise you?  It shouldn't!), and I didn't feel like going to Kroger with a cranky toddler, so I made my second choice:  Fiesta Chicken Stuffed Bell Peppers

    I liked how I could put them in a deviled egg tray.

    • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken breasts
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 1 cup (1 package) cream cheese
    • 1 cup black beans (drained)
    • 1 cup corn (drained)
    • 1/2 cup diced purple onion
    • juice of one lime
    • handful of cilantro, chopped (I used some cilantro in a tube.)
    • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
    • dash sea salt, pepper, and cumin


    1.  Cook the chicken.  I boil my chicken and use my mixer with the paddle attachment to shred it.  I think I cooked three chicken breasts which was more than enough for this recipe.
    2.  Squeeze lime juice over the chicken and sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, and cumin.
    3.  Mix the chicken, sour cream, and cream cheese.
    4.  Add the corn, beans, cilantro, garlic, and onion.  Stir until well combined.
    5.  Cut the bell peppers in half and remove the inner membranes and seeds.
    6.  Spoon the chicken mixture into the bell peppers.

    I wasn't overly crazy about this dish; however, Robert really liked it.  Good thing since it was for his birthday!


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    Monday, July 16, 2012

    Sorting Buttons

    This idea came to me a couple of weeks ago. I had this large medicine container that we were not using. I put several colored buttons in them sorted by color (and arranged according to the ROY G BIV rainbow). I left it out for Gracie to find when she woke up from her nap. She immediately saw it, I helped her open one or two slots, and she took over. She loves opening and shutting the little compartments and moving the buttons around. She even took it to church one night (along with an Easter basket so that she could take the buttons out and put them in the basket). Such a simple setup that brings a lot of fun learning!

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    Saturday, July 14, 2012

    Blog Post Roundup (7/14/12)

    Here are a few posts I thought y'all might like to read.

    One More Goodnight @ The Lighthouse Letters (This is a brand-new blog authored by my pastor's wife, Robyn Bachman.  I highly recommend subscribing or following her blog!)

    5 Ways to Be God's Friend @ The Pastor's Perspective (Guest post by Bro. Kurt Skelly)

    "Yes, Lord" Fixes Everything! @ Encouraging Words by Cary Schmidt

    Teaching Children to Share Their Thoughts @ Stephanie's Mommy Brain

    Organize Your Blog Reading @ I'm an Organizing Junkie
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    Friday, July 13, 2012

    On the Go Snack Bucket

    Gracie and I tend to be on the go quite a bit. Sometimes, I have to get her up quickly, get in the car, and go with little time for breakfast. I came up with a solution for having food ready for her that she can eat with little chance for spillage (unless she just dumps it out, of course).

    The little plastic storage container is the smallest one of four that comes in a set that I bought at Walmart.  It is small enough for Gracie to handle easily, but large enough that it can hold plenty of food for her breakfast or snacks.  It works out really well for us.

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    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

    Jalapeno Cream Cheese Poppers

    Gracie and I went to California for my nephew's graduation. He had an open house party the day after, and my sister-in-law served these scrumptious Jalapeno Cream Cheese Poppers.

    They were SO good! Once we got back home, I made them for Robert and myself.

    1 tube regular Crescent Rolls
    ~1/4 cup diced Jalapenos
     6 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
    1 Tbs. sugar

    Note: I recommend getting the jalapenos already diced in a jar.  It saves time and you are less likely to get jalapeno juice on you which can be somewhat painful and itchy.  However if you cut them up yourself, use gloves.  If you get juice on your hands, place them in milk to relieve the itching and burning.


    1. Mix the jalapenos, cream cheese, and sugar.
    2. Unroll the crescent rolls. Press the seams together so that you wind up with two solid rectangles.
    3. Spread the jalapeno-cream cheese mixture onto the two crescent roll rectangles.
    4. Roll the long side of each crescent roll rectangle so that it forms a tube.
    5. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour.  This will make it easier to cut into pinwheels.
    6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    7. Spray your cookie sheet with cooking spray.
    8. Cut the crescent roll tubes into 16 pinwheels each.
    9. Place the pinwheels on the cookie sheet.
    10. Bake for about 13 minutes.


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